Canada’s 600 MHz DTV transition: 238 analogue OTA TV transmitters slated for transition to digital OTA TV

Dear Minister Joly,

Long time! Did you get to meet Bono at the Canada Day 150 celebrations?

Now that Minister Bains at ISED has announced Canada’s 600 MHz DTV transition plan, I’m particularly interested in the 238 analogue OTA (NTSC) TV transmitters slated to transition to digital OTA TV between 2019 and 2022 (for a handy list of the analogue transmitters see this link: Analogue OTA transmitter slated for transition to digital). Will these 238 analogue NTSC transmitters be switching to the ATSC 1.0 DTV standard or to the new ATSC 3.0 DTV standard? For an ATSC 3.0 DTV primer see this video.

Whether a Canadian television broadcaster is switching from digital OTA to digital OTA, or from analogue OTA to digital OTA, what is your plan in terms of informing the public of this change and of ensuring that households will maintain access to Canadian television?

Please advise,



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4 Responses to Canada’s 600 MHz DTV transition: 238 analogue OTA TV transmitters slated for transition to digital OTA TV

  1. Doug Grisack says:

    Sadly, I suspect most of these transmitters will be shut down at or prior to any digital conversion. I spent some time in the rockies this past summer and found that the CFCN transmitters in Coleman, Alberta and Sparwood BC are not operational as it is. Probably many more.

  2. Doug Grisack says:

    Every CTV station has a list of repeaters in it’s 2016 license renewal for deletion, based on the following statement: “We are electing to delete these analog transmitters from the main licence with which they are associated. These analog transmitters generate no incremental revenue, attract little to no viewership given the growth of BDU or DTH subscriptions and are costly to maintain, repair or replace. In addition, none of the highlighted transmitters offer any programming that differs from the main channels. The Commission has determined that broadcasters may elect to shut down transmitters but will lose certain regulatory privileges (distribution on the basic service, the ability to request simultaneous substitution) as noted in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2015-24, Over-the-air transmission of television signals and local programming. We are fully aware of the loss of these regulatory privileges as a result of any transmitter shutdown.”

    To that end, broadcast TV is virtually eliminated from most of Canada outside of a handful of large markets. CTV is out, and the Global hangers on are sure to go. Mid size markets with their own small stations will be next, and not far off. You will, if you want to watch, pay for it. Sadly, it’s not broadcasting anymore, it’s streaming.

    Sadly, this could have been avoided if broadcasters had been given some option to develop the subchannels digital offers (as is done in the US) and some value seen in the television RF spectrum for use as a public service, instead of selling our public spectrum off for garbage. It’s gone now, not to return. Instead of competing with pay distribution, we’ve caved to it.

    • Thanks for the comment, Doug. You are correct. Bell Media received permission from the CRTC to shut down 40 analogue CTV/CTV Two re-transmitters in 2017. In terms of Global, Shaw agreed to convert all of their 67 analogue TV re-transmitters located outside mandatory markets to digital (as per Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2010-782). Corus is still working on the conversions that Shaw didn’t finish and last year Corus asked the CRTC to revise the plan. The CRTC is still reviewing the request. CBC/Radio-Canada and TVO shut off all their analogue TV re-transmitters in 2012. Regards, Steven

    • Hi, Doug. If you would like Shaw Direct’s LTSS to continue beyond August you have until May 13, 2019 to tell the CRTC. To comment on Shaw Direct’s LTSS, click on the following link named after Shaw Direct’s original name, “Star Choice Television Network Incorporated”: . Remember to detail your personal LTSS story and how an end to the LTSS would impact your household. Regards, Steven

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